Integrated eCare: an AAL topic
For the third time - after 2010 and 2011 - the AAL Forum convened to bring together the AAL community. This year's forum took place in Eindhoven and was organized by INDEPENDENT partner SmartHomes. Following an invitation by SmartHomes director Ad van Berlo, Mark Gretton from Hull University and Ingo Meyer from empirica presented INDEPENDENT and its "sister-project" CommonWell, showing that integrated eCare is an important topic also in the wider context of AAL.
Particularly since the forum is largely focussed on the AAL Joint Programme, it was interesting to see how blurred the boundaries between AAL, telecare, telehealth and all the other concepts are becoming. To a point where they hardly seem to matter anymore... What comes to the fore inceasingly are the challenges and visions that all activities in this area have in common, no matter what terminology or technology they are using. How to achieve meaningful and sustainable change? How to reach people, not just pilot participants? How to scale-up from technology funding to societal impact. Accordingly, business models, large-scale rollouts and policy programmes were discussed intensively.
The issue of integrated eCare came up several times, among other things in presentations by Esteban de Manuel Keenoy of Kronikgune and Ad van Berlo. All in all, the feeling is that there is increasing activity trying to improve collaboration between social care, healthcare and third sector care. But a lot of this may be happening under the radar, so to speak, because people often do not consider it a topic in its own right, but just something they want to achieve anyway while pursuing their other, original goals. So, terminology again...
The presentation of INDEPENDENT was well received in a session on telemonitoring and integrated care, chaired by Chris Flim. Despite the fact that it was the last session on the last full conference day, the room was packed with people listening to a total of nine presentations ranging from mHealth in Russia to home platforms for independent living.